Friends, Romans, countrymen—lend me your ears.
We come to bury Reject a Hit, the back-page humor column of WD. Since the March/April 2010 issue, RaH has treated readers to the satirical letters of imagined “curmudgeonly or fool-hearted” editors, as they bluntly dismissed the manuscripts of classic novels from Lolita and War & Peace to The Lorax and Charlie & the Chocolate Factory.
Over that span of time, the column became a fan favorite, with many readers telling us it was the first page they flipped to when a new issue arrived in the mail. Indeed, entries for Reject a Hit, submitted by readers with an evident knack for humor, have continued to be a joy for our editors to sift through every month. The truth is, however, that like any modern publication, we must stay agile and on our toes, never allowing ourselves to take for granted our readership. When a column feels like it has run its course, as “Reject a Hit” finally has after so many years of superb satirical letters, then it’s our duty to find a worthy replacement.
Beginning with the March/April 2016 issue, readers will be introduced to a new back-page humor column, called Platforms of Yore. In the competitive climate of 21st century publishing, few words of advice are tossed around with such indiscriminate abandon as the insistence that authors build a following on social media. In Platforms of Yore, we imagine the hypothetical platforms of classic writers who perished prior to launching their official online writing platform—with verified Twitter accounts, Facebook pages and Instagram feeds.
Staying true to form, Platforms of Yore will be crowdsourced so that readers can suggest jokes via Twitter or email, with the possibility of seeing them in print in a future issue. The idea is simple: To embody a writer’s distinct voice and personality through their hypothetical social media posts.
Think James Joyce struggling to compose a 140-character tweet, or Dorothy Parker trolling an irritable Ezra Pound in Facebook comments. You might submit an idea in which Hemingway posts an Instagram photo of his latest hunting trophy with the following caption: “A man can kill a lion, if his aim is true and he is brave in his heart. A man can then skin that lion and make his pelt into a handsome vest that matches his linen trousers.”
We’re incredibly excited to share this new venture with you, and hope you find it as fun and fitting a replacement for Reject A Hit as we do. To get a feel for Platforms of Yore, take a gander at its debut column, posted below.
Have a funny idea for an author’s imagined social network? Email your tweets, Facebook posts/threads or Instagram pics to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Platforms of Yore” in the subject line, or Tweet @writersdigest using the hashtag #platformsofyore. You could see your post (and your name) in the magazine!
Cheers, and happy writing!
Managing Editor, Writer's Digest
P.S. Here is a list of the author platforms we plan to parody in the near future:
July/August 2016—Ernest Hemingway
September 2016—Laura Ingalls Wilder
(Note: This list is subject to change.)